Friday 25th September 2015

Simon Stevens visits our services for young people with cancer in Bristol

Earlier this month we were delighted to have a visit from Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, to our unit at Bristol Oncology and Haematology Hospital. Simon was visiting the hospital and had requested to see our facilities as part of his tour. Our Lead Nurse in Bristol, Jamie Cargill, joined Teenage Cancer Trust CEO, Siobhan Dunn, and other local clinicians in taking Simon around the unit to meet young people and their families. We also had the chance to chat with him about our partnership working with the NHS, and the high quality specialist care that young people with cancer need, and that our staff and services are able to provide. 

NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said:

The Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Services at University Hospitals Bristol is such an impressive service - with staff clearly dedicated not only to providing the highest quality clinical treatment for young patients, but caring for their emotional, social and practical needs. The Teenage Cancer Trust’s multi-disciplinary, whole-person approach is a great example for other services.

Welsh Cancer Priorities

We attended the All Wales Cancer Conference this month to hear about the key issues for cancer services in Wales and input our thoughts to the Welsh Government as it develops its priorities for a new cancer strategy. Speakers at the event talked about early diagnosis and detection as well as access to treatment and the Welsh Government’s actions on cancer service improvements.

Whilst there’s much that’s similar in cancer services across the UK’s there are also some differences. These can be down to different numbers of patients, different Government structures and decisions and different geographies. At the conference some of these differences were discussed, including issues like the Cancer Drugs Fund which is currently available in England but not in Wales. There was quite a lot of scepticism about Wales adopting this model given the publication of the National Audit Office report on the Cancer Drugs Fund this week which found that there has been no information collected on how the Cancer Drug’s Fund in England has led to improvements for patients.

The Welsh Government is currently reviewing its cancer strategy and cancer priorities, so it was important that we were there to speak up for teenagers and young adults in Wales. We’ll be continuing to contribute to the consultation on the new cancer strategy directly and through our membership of the Wales Cancer Alliance as well as raising issues with Assembly Members (AMs) in the run up to the Welsh Government elections in May 2016. We want to see the new strategy have a stronger focus on the needs of young people with cancer as well as look into rolling out our education programme in schools across Wales. Watch this space!

Scottish Cross Party Group on Cancer

This month we also went along to the latest meeting of the Cross Party Group on Cancer in Edinburgh, where Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Shona Robinson MSP, gave a speech and took part in a Q&A. The Cross Party Group is made up of MSPs, civil servants, patients, charities and other stakeholder groups who all have an interest in cancer. 

At the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary gave an update on a range of activity that’s taking place in Scotland in the run up to the Scottish Government elections in May. The Scottish Cancer Patient Experience Survey will be sent out to patients in October, while work continues on a new Cancer Plan for Scotland which is due to be published in the Spring.  We’ll be keeping an eye out for the results of the survey, and ensuring that the needs of young people with cancer are fully represented within the new Plan. During her remarks, we were glad to hear the Cabinet Secretary recognise the challenges that young people can face when seeking a cancer diagnosis, and our partnership with Detect Cancer Early is one of the ways that we’re working to address this in Scotland.


Read more about our policy priorities here, or get in touch with us by email.